Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Adaptec Adapts, Inovates Around SSDs

Way back in the twentieth century Adaptec was the dominant supplier of
parallel SCSI HBAs and chipsets for SCSI on motherboards. They then
branched out into server RAID controllers that competed with some
success against AMI's MegaRAID and Mylex, both with OEMs and users.

But for a while, Adaptec seemed to have lost
their way. Even before the switchover to SAS/SATA on server
motherboards, most of the major OEMs shifted to LSI chipsets. As LSI
bought up Mylex and the MegaRAID line, Adaptec took their eye off the
market that was paying their bills. They tried to move up the food
chain from component and card supplier by introducing iSCSI appliances and
buying subsystem vendors including Eurologic and the much traveled Snap
Server group.

Now, not only has Adaptec decided to return to HBAs
and RAID controllers, but starting in June, they
began using flash and an ultra capacitors to protect the RAM cache on
their new controllers. Adaptec has returned to leading the market rather than

As a consultant, I've dealt with way too many panicked calls
from system administrators when they have an Insight Manger or
OpenManage message that the battery on their RAID controller  was dying
or needed reconditioning. I therefore love the idea of a long-lived ultra capacitor that provides enough juice to dump the cache to flash
in the event of a power failure, rather than hoping the battery will
last until the power is restored. I was expecting a SAN array vendor to
add this feature, but Adaptec got there first.

Now  Adaptec's
MaxIQ , like Sun's OpenStorage's ReadZilla or NetApp's upcoming PAM II,
uses flash as a huge read cache. A single Adaptec RAID controller with
the MaxIQ software upgrade can use up to 4 32GB Intel X-25E SLC flash
drives as a transparent cache.

  • 1